A 9mm carbine occupies an interesting point between a pistol and a rifle. They pack more power and fire more accurately than the average pistol, but they’re still smaller and easier to carry than a full rifle. It can be hard for engineers to strike the right balance, so quality varies significantly between models. We’ve gone through the options to find the best 9mm carbines out there. Our rankings prioritize guns that strike a balance between precision, power, and portability at a reasonable price.
10. Kel-Tec SUB-2000
9. CMMG Mk9T
The Mk9T looks and feels like a lot like a miniature AR15. Unlike most weapons, it uses a Keymod system for accessories instead of picatinny rails. Compatible accessories just screw in, which saves weight and makes adjustments easier. The downside is that not every accessory is compatible, so adding extra toys can take some extra investment. The stock collapses, but unlike some other carbines the stock does not fold, so it isn’t the easiest weapon to transport. Any shooter can use this to good effect, but it’s perfect for those that want to customize their gun without needing advanced technical skills.
8. Hi-Point 995 Carbine
7. JP Enterprises GMR-13
A GMR-13 is an expensive weapon, but the gun’s excellent quality of construction does prevent most malfunctions. The weapon’s design is optimized for law enforcement, so it focuses on enabling quick target acquisition and minimizing recoil. The gun is compatible with most Glock magazines, so the average shooter will already have plenty of spares. It also has a secondary charge lever on the left side of the upper receiver, so the shooter can use it without moving their shooting hand. It takes practice to get used to it. That need for practice and the weapon’s cost make this a fine choice for people who are willing to train extensively, but not for new shooters.
6.Thureon Defense GA Carbine
A GA Carbine is the best 9mm carbine for general use by intermediate shooters, both at the range and in the field. It has a flash suppressor that offers slightly more discretion in the field, and an adjustable stock to help get a good fit for smaller shooters. Like many carbines, it takes Glock magazines, so finding extras to load in advance is easy. Good construction ensures accuracy, although not to the point where it can compete with a traditional rifle at long distances.
5. Marlin Camp Carbine
The Camp Carbine is a light hunting weapon. Many shooters choose it for the wooden stock that contrasts with the tactical style of other carbines, but the mechanics are just as good as the gun’s appearance. It’s an older gun with simple mechanisms, so it’s fairly easy to clean and maintain. Those also help to make it reliable, but it does need regular cleaning to stay functional. People who want to put in more work can customize it with a huge variety of parts from various suppliers. The downside to this weapon is that it has been discontinued and available as second-hand. It’s worth getting one if you want a simple weapon for wilderness use, especially if you’re a novice.
4. Ruger PC9
Like the Camp Carbine, the PC9 is only available on the used market. Mechanically, it stands out for its bolt assembly, which includes two separate parts to allow a heavy bolt without unbalancing the gun. The gun was designed for police, so it performs accurately within short distances even when firing rapidly. Accuracy of the gun falls off at longer ranges. Like most older guns, it doesn’t have room for many accessories beyond a scope, but the simple mechanisms make it highly reliable. Choose the PC9 if you want a carbine for home defense, or for general use if you’re an expert who can reliably use it at long range.
3. CZ Scorpion EVO 3 S1 Carbine
The Scorpion is intended for home defense, but it’s versatile enough to be useful at the range or in the field as well. Since the controls are ambidextrous and the trigger is adjustable, most people can use it comfortably. The sights are fairly good, with shielded sights in front and adjustable rear sights along with space for a red dot sight. The trigger pull is heavier than average, but most shooters should get used to it after a little bit of exposure. This is a good option for both new and old shooters, especially lefties who crave a gun with good ergonomics. It’s an excellent option if you’re looking for the best 9mm carbine.
2. Beretta Cx4 Storm
The Storm was developed with Beretta’s other offerings in mind, so it can take the same magazines as many of their pistols. Beretta also designed it with customization in mind. It has a picatinny rail that can extend under the barrel, and another that runs along the side. The stock’s length is adjustable, both for easier storage and for improved ergonomics. Most of the components are also ambidextrous. All of those features make it a great, customizable workhorse for experienced shooters. The Storm doesn’t have much to offer to novices, which they can’t get from a cheaper weapon.
1. Aero Survival Rifle
The Aero Survival Rifle was designed to keep pilots alive in the wilderness after an emergency landing. Some parts are made of aluminum to keep the weight down, while others are made of steel for strength. All of them are made through laser cutting or milling to make them fit perfectly into a reliable weapon. Several other calibers are available, and it’s easy to convert between them, making this one of the most versatile weapons you can find. It’s one of the best 9mm carbines for shooters of every skill level who want something light, rugged, and functional.
Choosing the Best 9mm Carbines
Picking the best one relies on many variables that it’s impossible to get all the good options in a single list. Feel free to leave a comment to help your fellow shooters if you have some experience with a carbine that we didn’t consider. Also, if you have something that you want to add about one that we did. After all, there’s no such thing as too much information when you’re making an important choice. If you’re looking for the same caliber but a more compact weapon, here are the best subcompact 9mm guns.
What’s the Difference Between a Carbine and 9mm Pistol?
Most shooters have experience with a 9mm, and they know the underwhelming capabilities of it. Those shooters will also know that a massive difference exists between the nature and behavior of a 9mm round shot out of a carbine than a pistol.
The first difference is the barrel length. Most pistols have 5″ barrels, meaning that the round doesn’t have a lot of time to burn off its fuel before being shot out of the barrel. Carbines don’t have that problem as they provide enough travel time inside a riffled barrel.
The other significant difference is the pistol recoil. A carbine’s recoil is a small jolt, making the gun accurate when firing quickly. When you’re dumping rounds with a pistol, don’t expect to hit the target often. The opposite is true for a carbine.
Carbines are a delight for shooters who enjoy tinkering. A shooter can mod a 9mm carbine as much as an AR15. Some outlets also offer 9mm carbines in AR styles with barrels covered in Picatinny rails.